October 21, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Belarus: Two journalists sentenced to two years in prison

Belarus: Two journalists sentenced to two years in prison

Minsk | Their employer Belsat reported on Wednesday that two Belarusian journalists were sentenced to two years in prison for participating in the 2020 protest movement in Belarus through their coverage.

Daria Toultsova and Katerina Bakhvalova, correspondents of the Polish-based opposition channel, were arrested by riot police in an apartment on November 15, from where they filmed a violent dispersal of the demonstration in tribute to opposition activist Roman Bodarenko. A few days ago.

“I showed these events in the air, for which I was imprisoned, by making accusations,” Katerina Bakhvalova said on Wednesday evening that the court deliberately withdrew in her last speech.

The prosecution alleges that the two reporters incited the population to demonstrate illegally through their reporting, which “severely damaged public order”.

Two women, 23 and 27, pleaded not guilty and considered themselves victims of the repression that engulfed the mass protest movement that erupted after Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in August 2020.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has faced months of unprecedented protests. Authorities opposed the protest with all available police forces, special services and the army. “

Opposition groups called for a boycott of the assembly and detained thousands.

Most of the media was also repressed.

The Belarusian government on Tuesday conducted new searches targeting 20 journalists, association activists and union officials as part of an investigation into the 2020 protest movement.

With Moscow’s support, Mr Lukashenko refused to relinquish power and promised only vague constitutional reforms in an effort to quell the protests.